For Immediate Release
Chicago, IL – November 10, 2017 – Zacks.com announces the list of stocks featured in the Analyst Blog. Every day the Zacks Equity Research analysts discuss the latest news and events impacting stocks and the financial markets. Stocks recently featured in the blog include Apple AAPL, Microsoft MSFT, Cisco CSCO and Alphabet GOOGL.
Here are highlights from Thursday’s Analyst Blog:
Tech Stock Roundup: AAPL, FB Earnings, Responses to Russian Meddling
President Trump’s proposed tax reforms are particularly positive for the big technology companies that have been hoarding their cash overseas to avoid high taxes on repatriation. Apple, Microsoft, Cisco and Alphabet will all benefit from the new plan to charge a one-time tax of 12% on all cash and 5% on all non-cash assets brought back into the country. The reduction in the corporate tax rate to 20% is also a positive.
The top stories from last week-
Apple: Apple sailed past the Zacks Consensus Estimates on both top and bottom lines, helped by growth across product lines and most geographies. Most encouraging was the acceleration in services revenue growth, the improved pricing across iPads and Macs and relative strength in China. But iPhones, which still account for more than half the revenue were a drag on margins.
The guidance of $84 to $87 billion was better than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $83.3 billion, which is great considering that some people are definitely bypassing the iPhone 8 for the iPhone X, which is likely to remain supply-constrained. Read more: Apple Q4 Earnings Impress, iPhones & Services Lead
Facebook: Facebook also topped expectations. As far as revenues are concerned, the company grew both users (MAUs and DAUs grew 16% each) and prices (average price per ad increased 35%). There was a spike on the cost side that Facebook attributed to a bigger workforce and marketing. Costs will rise greatly going forward, as Facebook invests in security, video and AR/VR. Read more: Facebook's Mobile & Video Efforts Drive Q3 Earnings
Tech Companies Grilled on Russian Meddling
While Google, Twitter and Facebook were all taken to task by government officials for allegedly allowing meddling by Russians in the 2016 U.S. elections, it was Facebook that faced most of the flak. Officials were particularly upset with the time the social network took to track the ads bought in Russian rubles and that violated its terms of service, as well as its general lack of knowledge about the 5 million advertisers on its platform.
Facebook has said that at least 3,000 U.S. political ads had been bought by people in Russia. These people had also published another 80,000 Facebook posts that were seen by around 126 million Americans over two years. The company has now admitted that it could have done more to protect its platform from people deliberately posting divisive, hurtful, hateful posts.
The company has now committed to doubling its security staff (including temporary workers) to 20K by the end of 2018 (it currently employs around 20K in total). It also intends to give political ads special treatment going forward. So political advertisers will have to furnish more information about their identities now and there will be a 1,000 more people reviewing these ads. Facebook will compile a publicly searchable archive of political ads beginning next year.
Twitter said that Russians had 2,752 accounts on the platform. Google said that Russia-linked ad spending on its platform was only around $4,700, but it would build a database of political ads in any case.
Both Facebook and Google said that Russia linked ads were a tiny fraction of the total content on their platforms.
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